With the beginning of the season a little less than 24 hours away, we're going to get a chance to see Scott Laughton play his first NHL minutes, against a team from a city that booed him when he was drafted in Pittsburgh 20th overall back in June, by your Philadelphia Flyers. He was even quoted as saying, in response to an interviewer's question of what he thought of the booing by Pittsburgh fans, "Fuel to the fire." Exciting!
Now, the question of whether or not Laughton should stay past 5 games and burn a year of his ELC has been raised all throughout camp and has largely been met with a "no" from many intelligent, reasonable hockey minds, including some of the writers here at BSH. I respect that, and the logic of it is spot on for a cautious, forward thinking fan. But, based on seeing him play some games in juniors in Oshawa over the past year and scouring the interwebs for as much video on him as possible, and me generally being someone who loves needless arguing more than a menopausal woman, I'd like to offer an argument for why I believe Laughton SHOULD get a permanent roster spot this season.
Is Laughton not more valuable to the team than Rinaldo, Wellwood, Shelley, and Sestito? He’s a smarter player than any of them (Lavy has said that Scott has a great hockey mind, especially in his own zone), has more offensive talent than any of them, is more defensively responsible than any of them (although Wellwood is good defensively), he’s less of a penalty liability than Rinaldo and Sestito, who are often loose cannons, et cetera.
Although he is young and raw, is it really much of a stretch to say that Scott Laughton at 4th line center could probably help the team win more than Rinaldo, Shelley, Sestito, and Wellwood as 4th line wing? It feels to me like a lot of people are saying that this season would be a waste to use a year of his ELC in because it’s a “48 game sprint”. Is there not still a Stanley Cup to be won this season? If there is (I'm pretty sure there is), then this season matters as much as any other. If after 5 games Lavy and Holmgren think that Scott Laughton gives us a better chance to win the Stanley Cup, and the trade off is less financial wiggle room for us down the road, then I say let’s go all in for whatever gives us the best chance to have a parade down Broad Street in July, and cross the bridge of cap space when we get to it.
LET'S GO FLYERS